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5 famous Canadian authors and where they went to university

Read Time

6 minutes

Are you thinking about moving to Canada to study? Get inspired by these talented Canadian authors and discover the universities they attended. Find out which Canadian universities accept PTE Academic now! 

Canada inspires good writing. The northern country is home to many talented literary figures and authors whose works have been celebrated worldwide for decades. From old classics like Anne of Green Gables to newer works like Women Talking and The English Patient, Canadian literature has really made a mark.  

But who are the masterminds behind these incredible stories? More importantly, where in Canada did they study?  

Here, we take a look at some of Canada’s most talented writers and learn where they earned their university degrees. 

This list includes reputable institutions from the scenic east coast, to the quiet prairies to highly-regarded schools in Ontario. And if you have yet to read these writers’ books, add them to your reading list! 

1. Lucy Maud Montgomery  

Lucy Maud Montgomery published Anne of Green Gables in 1908. It became one of Canada’s most famous books. The story is set in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island which is where the author was born.  

The fictional story is about a red-haired, impulsive orphan growing up in a small eastern Canadian town. Though it was rejected by many publishers at first, the novel went on to sell more than 50 million copies. It has also been translated into 36 languages.  

More recently, it was developed into a TV series called Anne With An E, which can be streamed on Netflix.  

Education: Dalhousie University 

Lucy Maud Montgomery studied at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She started her studies there at age 21 in 1895. At the time, it wasn’t common for women to be seen on campus. During her time at Dalhousie, she argued that more women should seek a university education.  

Feeling inspired to study at Dalhousie University? The good news is that they accept PTE as proof of your English level.  

2. Joseph Boyden  

Joseph Boyden is Canada’s most celebrated Indigenous author. He is best known for his books Three Day Road, Through The Black Spruce, and The Orenda. In his writing career, Boyden has collected many Canadian literary prizes. These include Canada Reads, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, The Governor General’s Award for fiction, and the Canadian Booksellers Association Fiction Book of the Year. Boyden grew up in North York, Ontario.  

Education: York University  

He studied creative writing at York University where he was admired by a professor for his intensity and determination. He also has honorary degrees from Wilfrid Laurier University, Trent University, Nipissing University, and Algoma University.  

Do you want to follow in Boyden’s footsteps? York University accepts PTE

3. Alice Munro 

Alice Munro is one of the best authors to have ever come out of Canada. In 2013, she won the Nobel Prize in Literature. She is known and praised as being the master of the short story. Her books include Dear Life, Dance of the Happy Shades, The Lives of Girls and Women, Who Do You Think You Are and The Love of a Good Woman. When she won the Nobel Prize, she was quoted saying that she didn’t expect to win.  

Education: Western University  

As for her education, Munro studied English at Western University. She started at the university in 1949. She actually published her first-ever work at the university’s campus literary magazine called Folio. Munro is one of Western University’s most famous alumni.  

If you’ve bookmarked Western University as a place to study, it also accepts PTE.  

4. Miriam Toews 

Miriam Toews is a bestselling author of Women Talking, All My Puny Sorrows, and A Complicated Kindness. Toews has collected many literary awards in Canada. Her major awards are the Governor General’s Award for English-language fiction, Canada Reads, and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her novel Women Talking is a fictional story based on a Mennonite colony in Bolivia. It became a bestseller and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award. Toews lives in Toronto.  

Education: University of Manitoba 

She earned her first degree at the University of Manitoba where she studied film studies and earned a bachelor of arts degree.  

Check out the University of Manitoba for yourself, the highly regarded institution also accepts PTE. 

5. Michael Ondaatje 

Michael Ondaatje is considered one of Canada’s most important contemporary writers. His novels and poetry are required reading in many Canadian schools and universities. Ondaatje was born in Sri Lanka but moved to Canada in 1962 and stayed. His most famous book is The English Patient. It’s a war-era love story set in Italy. Not only did it win the Man Booker Prize, but it was also turned into an award-winning movie in 1996. Ondaatje also wrote In The Skin Of A Lion, The Cat’s Table, and Anil’s Ghost. In addition to the Booker Prize, Ondaatje has also won Governor General’s Awards and the Giller Prize. He is also a member of the Order of Canada. Before becoming the famous author that he’s known as today,  

Education: Queen’s University 

Ondaatje studied ag Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario in 1967. He’s one of the university’s most celebrated past students. Currently, he lives in Toronto.  

Queen’s University is a great choice for international students and accepts PTE

Travel to study in Canada 

Thinking of studying in Canada? With so many incredible universities, Canada is an obvious pick for many international students. In order to secure a spot at a Canadian university though, students coming from abroad must prove English proficiency.  

PTE Academic can help make your dreams of studying in Canada come true. The English language test is recognized worldwide. Many top Canadian universities including the ones mentioned above accept PTE scores as part of their application process.  

Check out PTE test centers in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, or Burnaby to take the first step towards your Canadian university career.